We’ve been preparing for our Earth Day project. I knew I wanted it to be something we could all participate in and something that would really help the kids to understand what it was that we were doing and why we were doing it. We talk a lot about the environment and the various ways we can do our part, but these are usually things we do in our home or in our local community.
This brings us to the Found Things. The project we’ve been doing in all of our spare time — traveling to and visiting as many outdoor spaces as we can, collecting “found things”. Found things can be anything really, neat little doo dads we find on the ground — bottle caps, squirt bottle tops, shiny things, round things, square things, you name it. Anything we find in nature that is not natural. We keep one bag for found things we want to use in our art project and another for just plain old trash we find along the way. While we’re out, we talk about the birds and the trees and the soil and the Earth and how they all work together. How everything in nature has a purpose and a place and how these “found things” don’t really belong there in the first place. We make sure to emphasize how important it is that we never discard items outside that don’t belong there.
Nature is beautiful. i love the way they see this, but now they are starting to understand how it all works together. The dots are connecting because we started composting this year, it has turned out to be a great learning opportunity. They are starting to understand all the things that can and can not be composted, and it has really translated for them to this experience as well.
These quiet moments together, outdoors, seeking and sharing have really made a difference in the way we are interacting with one another at home too. Our forest walks have taken me back to another time and place, back when I was a child on the Carolina coast searching for shark’s teeth. This may have been my favorite activity of all time and I love being able to bring that sense of wonderment and calm and mindfulness to my children. We plan to keep up our favorite new past time and I hope as they get older they will think back with fond memories of our time in the forests searching for “found things”.
Do you think you’ll try a “found things” walk with your kids?
Next up, Phase 2 of Found Things — the art project.